Supreme Court of New Jersey
560 A.2d 1198 (N.J. 1989)
Police executed a search warrant at Ernest Odom’s (defendant) house and found 18 vials of cocaine in a pillowcase under his bed. No other drugs or drug paraphernalia were found. Odom was charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. Odom claimed that he had bought the drugs for personal use. At trial, the prosecution qualified Detective Tierney as an expert witness in illegal narcotics. He was asked to assume the facts listed above (that had already been introduced at trial) and, based on those facts, “whether Ernest Odom possessed 18 vials of crack for his own use or possessed them with the intent to distribute them.” He testified that he was of the opinion that the drugs were possessed not for personal use, but for distribution. Based on this testimony the trial court convicted Odom. The appellate court reversed. The prosecution appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Handler, J.)
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